Despotovac Serbia to Serres Greece
Fewer miles today only 330 but two border crossings so still not a short day. I won't say this is tough going, mostly 'cos it'll make me sound like a wimp, - I can hear the nodding of heads from here, thank you Dom, but doing this number of miles right at the front of the trip is not easy. I guess it's because so early on in the trip your system is not running yet; where you keep things, how your bags as packed, starting up blogs etc and then adding 12 hours a day on the bike doesn't leave much time for sleep.
Still, the two guys I'm riding with are surviving the experience very well given one is sixtyish and the other one is not in the fresh bloom of youth either, I think it fair to say they are not finding it easy but they are coping very well.
I haven't mentioned these two before so I should give you a run down. They're both inexperienced riders; Michael (the Major) is a farmer from the border counties just south of Carlisle for those of you who don't know where that is it's about as far North as you can get without running across people with kilts, he's riding a 1200GS and is new to the long distance touring game. He's become the linguist of the group as he sports a cut glass accent and the personality to verbally flatten any attempt at deviation from his requirements. His chosen form of linguistic communication is English, with the usual volume increase if the recipient fails to understand, and the occasional hand gestures - so long as they fit into the limits of decorum i.e. no chicken impressions - though there is a dodgy cow milking thing. He's had remarkable success, having achieved the ordering of coffee every morning of the trip so far and in some fairly dodgy locations, I have to say it does make you wonder if there's a hint of a misspent youth? Sadly his linguistic expertise is not matched by his grasp of navigational technology I personally believe that the trip notes taped onto his tank are more of a political statement than any serious attempt at navigation, as witnessed by his still having the Austrian notes attached for today's ride. Luckily Colin (no nickname yet but his time will come) does know how to handle the technology so they pair each other pretty well. Colin is a quieter type, a technologist from the Home Counties who is again riding a 1200GS and who's recently returned to motorcycling after a long layoff. He's a sharp wit (on his day which luckily isn't every day) and a real traveller, over the years he's travelled both with his jobs and for pleasure, his occupations taking him all over the world using a variety of transport mechanisms. The most important point of course is they are both good company and seem to be made of the kind of stuff we are going to need when we get to some of the rougher stuff.
I've suddenly realised I haven't talked about the ride - the morning was fun we wandered over some tarmaced goat tracks in the south of Serbia, I'm guessing it's Kevin's attempt to acclimatise us to the off road we'll run across further in; time will tell. Then we had a quick dash down the motorway through Bulgaria to Greece and a pretty good hotel.